Are you looking for cheap accommodation in Argentina and Chile? Here is the list of all the hostels I stayed at, during my trip to Argentina and Chile in November/December 2016, north to south, with a little review of each place and some important information.
Residencial Noelia, Puerto Iguazu
This hostel is located very close to the bus terminal (which is all you really need in Puerto Iguazu) but in a very quiet location. Rooms and common spaces were much cleaner than I expected, breakfast was included even if very simple, hot water was always available and staff was helpful with info about how to reach the waterfalls etc. It features a small swimming pool, provides towels and soap included in the rate. Wi-fi was bad (but not as bad as in Patagonia!). Only cash accepted (the “solo efectivo” = “only cash” sentence will follow you everywhere in South America!).
Hostel Salta Por Siempre, Salta
This hostel may not be in the most central location of the city of Salta (it’s a solid 15 minutes walk from the central square) but it was the cheapest private+ensuite room of my whole trip, and a very nice one. There is an internal court with a garden and if your room faces this area of the hostel, it gets noisy at night as people sit there and chat, etc. which is nice if you want to join them, but not so nice if you need to sleep and wake up early the next day. So yeah, earplugs are always the way! Something I really didn’t expect happened here: they made up my bed every day! Not sure if this is the case for dorms too though. Only cash accepted.
Familia Garcia, Purmamarca
In the north of Argentina I had a 4-days road trip to the region of Jujuy. First stop was Purmamarca, and as me and my friends knew that it was possible to sleep at locals’ places we didn’t make any reservation. We found this “hostel” (2 rooms, dorm style) as soon as we arrived to Purmamarca, and spent our night there. It was super basic, bathroom looked like it had never been cleaned before, there was no wi-fi and no breakfast included. Not the best place, but it was ok for 1 night. Only cash accepted.
Hostel El Farolito, Tilcara
I admit I had zero expectations when we stopped at this hostel. Big dorms, few bathrooms. I was worried and in a bad mood. But then this happened to be where I had my first really good sleep since the beginning of the trip! So I ended up loving the place. Staff was really friendly and the mood really chilled. Very cheap and breakfast was included, so looking back at Hostel El Farolito I would say it was one of the best places I’ve stayed at during this trip! Again, bring earplugs: there’s a club just in front and music is really loud. Obviusly only cash accepted.
La Casa de Tounens, Puerto Madryn
Casa de Tounens in Puerto Madryn (gateway to Peninsula Valdés) was a really nice surprise. Comfy beds, fairly clean, and a rich breakfast. Plus, it was my first impact with Patagonia and the moment I landed in Trelew and smelled the sea, I was happy. Plus, I saw the Southern Cross perfectly from the garden at Casa de Tounens, so this will be remembered as one special place! Location is perfect for the bus terminal, which was really handy when I had to rush to my 18 hours bus ride to Rio Gallegos after a day trip to Punta Tombo. Only cash accepted here too – boo, Patagonia is expensive and you don’t have all that cash on you at all times. But as I said before, it’s only cash basically everywhere, so…
Hotel Covadonga, Rio Gallegos
Well, this is weird, but they don’t have a website and you won’t find them on any booking website. You can just call them at +54 2966 42-0190 and they will hold the room for you even without a credit card. Believe it or not! Anyway there are almost zero tourists in Rio Gallegos and the hotel is big so I see why they were so relaxed! Hotel Covadonga is (or seems like) a previous school with that creepy look you’re thinking about, breakfast is included and it’s all you need really.
Penguin Hostel, El Calafate
Penguin Hostel in El Calafate was love at first sight. I mean just look at the shape of it! This hostel is right by the bus terminal which is very handy especially if you will be running up and down Patagonia without too much spare time. Also, they can reserve buses for you without any additional charge. It’s clean and recently renovated, wi-fi is good (finally!!!) and they accept credit cards. Hallelujah.
Aylen-Aike Hostel, El Chaltén
Took me forever to find Hostel Aylen-Ayke in El Chaltén because back then its location was wrong on Google maps. But now it’s fixed so it’s super easy to find, plus its location is very good for the hikes! The manager is a cool guy and a metalhead so we got along very well listening to our favourite kind of music. Clean hostel with clean bathrooms, worst wi-fi ever (forget about it) and no breakfast but a very nice shared kitchen and at walking distance from basically everything. Oh and I could see Mount Fitz Roy from my window… Isn’t that something?
Hostel La Bitacora, Puerto Natales (Chile)
On the plus side, I wasn’t sleeping in a bunk bed for a change, and that felt good. That’s it, because I hated everything else – 2 bathrooms in the whole hostel that were filthy to use a nice word, cats peeing on the carpet (don’t sleep on the ground floor), no lockers, no nothing. Good wi-fi and lowest prices in town, the latter being the main reason why I picked it since I was broke by the time I reached Puerto Natales!
So don’t go there.
Samarce House, Punta Arenas (Chile)
This was probably the best hostel I stayed at in the whole trip. Too bad I only had 1 night to spend there and too little time. The hotel was warm, clean, kitchen was very clean and it really felt like being at home – the hostel is actually an apartment. The bed was very comfy, staff was friendly and smiling, the location is very close to the bus terminal and to the city’s main mirador (viewpoint). If you pay with credit card they will charge you an extra 19% for tax which I happily paid as withdrawing from an ATM would have costed more (oh, South America!).
Hostels in Ushuaia
I stayed at a hotel (Hotel Canal Beagle) in Ushuaia which was my treat for the end of the trip. Finally I could enjoy a private toilet, a king bed and some privacy as a reward! Right on the sea promenade, at a walking distance to everything, easy to find. It was such a pleasure to stay here. Yes, you are right, this is not a hostel. But I deserved it, right?